It’s a bit of a conundrum this environment malarkey. We know that we are harming the environment as a race but find it so difficult to change our behaviour as individuals.
I think that the majority of us can agree that we humans are contributing to the decline of our natural environment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is in no doubt that man has been and is a major causal effect of Global Warming. And they ought to know – they consult some of the brainiest boffins from around the globe.
We are consuming finite resources at an ever increasing rate and clearly don’t balance the books in terms of the energy we use now and the energy that is available in the long term to support us. It’s like we are withdrawing money from the bank faster than we are putting it in. Eventually the money runs out and it has to stop. Spot any similarities with another major global crisis of the moment?
As with any emotive and important issue, there are extremes of opinion. In terms of the Environment debate you have got the likes of Jeremy Clarkson extolling the virtues of the motor car and poo-pooing the “environmentalists” and their arguments. At the other end of the scale are the individuals who are so concerned that they break onto airfields and chain themselves to aeroplanes. That said, the vast majority of us I believe (and I’m not afraid to say that includes me) take a more rounded view.
Yes we can see we are harming the environment. We burn fuel virtually every time we travel, whether it’s the car, bus, train or plane. We burn fuel to heat our water and homes. We burn fuel every time we turn on a light, watch the TV or use a PC. It is very easy to use up energy - whether it’s electricity, gas, oil or petrol. And it’s not just us as individuals. Business and industry burn fuel as well; just on a much bigger scale!
The problem is it is so easy to use energy, and in today’s society it’s virtually impossible to avoid using it. I am sitting at a PC now that is using electricity. I have got an electric heater on in the office (although a coat as well to be honest – 1 eco-browny point to me then). You will be reading this on your PC screen, probably in a heated house or office, with a light on, and a brew on the go and maybe with the TV still on even though you’re not really watching it. I know it’s true, because I still do it. It’s just too easy and energy is not so expensive that we have to save every last drop of it.
At the end of the day I don’t believe that the vast majority of us are going to take major steps to change our behaviour and help the environment unless it there is a real benefit to us. Saving energy either has to have a tangible financial benefit or at the very least make us feel good about ourselves.
There is always going to be compromise and some people might be great in one area of their life but rubbish in another. I have this problem mylself to an extent. I like cars, I always have. I find Jeremy Clarkson amusing and at times entertaining. I watch Top Gear. But I am also very aware of the harm that the internal combustion engine (just as one source of pollution) is doing to our environment. I am also a farmer; I have a 4x4, I have a tractor and probably burn more than my fare share of oil and diesel. But I do make changes were I can. And as time goes on I think my viewpoint is moving slowly towards the environmentalist extreme and away from the Clarkson extreme.
Maybe the best we can hope for, until finance or imminent disaster forces us to do otherwise, is that each of us “non-extremists” does what we can to save energy. The simple stuff. The stuff that can make us feel good and lower our bills a bit.
I personally will not be chaining myself to an aeroplane any time soon. I might however buy a car with a more economical engine than otherwise I would and I would urge of all of you to consider ways at home and work to minimise your energy use wherever possible.
The Hard Sell (not)
To help you do “the simple stuff”, I just happen to sell a few great energy saving products in our Ecofreak online shop. If you want save energy and money and you buy just one thing from us, buy a wireless energy monitor such as the Efergy Elite. It is this that I believe will help to encourage you to start moving towards a greener way of living by making you think about the energy you use on a daily basis. Believe it or not it’s quite satisfying finding where energy is being wasted and taking steps to reduce it. If you get the bug and want to do more take a look at our information page on how to reduce your energy bills or just browse our eco products.
We also sell lots of practical solar powered products that can be used effectively in every day life to help you lower your reliance on mains power. Take a look at our guide to Practical Solar Power.
Save some energy, have some fun, save some money and feel good!